If you were to walk through some areas in Blackburn and Darwen you will be faced with litter and rubbish near street bins and in back alleys.

Council tax rates have increased, bin collections have reduced, council street sweepers are a thing of the past. Littering is now deemed a norm to some.

So how does litter reflect the societal degradation and why do we need to reform our actions? Throwing trash on the floor to me, epitomises individual ‘pride and ego’. 

The thought process is this - "This object I have in my hand is no use to me so rather than holding onto it to dispose properly I'll throw it on the floor and allow someone else to clean it." 

Other will utter nonsense such as, "Well, I pay council tax so someone else can clean up my rubbish." This statement is simply selfish and stupid.

Would you expect a guest to come to your house keep their shoes on, leave a mess on the carpet and then leave? You would most definitely conclude this individual has no manners. 

Regardless of the rights one has that is no way to act. Just because we pay council tax does not mean we have the freedom to litter wherever we like. 

Others say the ‘council are useless that's why the rubbish is increasing’. Well, stop relying on them. 
I agree we should not have to be cleaning up back alleys ourselves but this impacts our lives not theirs. I would also ask how the council is to blame for people’s disregard for their community?

There is also these almost lazy attitude to blaming one community over another for the rubbish. We all know it has more to do with individual decisions rather than people’s backgrounds.

Is the takeaway owner to blame for the rubbish or the fact that ate a burger and threw the rubbish from your car on to the street? All you had to do was take the bag home and put it in a bin.

So why do we need to collectively improve the standard of cleanliness? 

1. We don't want our children to grow up with bad manners so why would we want them to grow up with a dirty area.

2. There is a psychological factor  - the cleaner your area the more uplifting your mood is. People feel more positive and we should strive to feel good. 

3. I firmly believe the youth are the most important individuals to create change. They are not yet moulded into stubbornness or pessimism like the rest of us. 

How can we improve the cleanliness of our areas:

1. Litter picking - the council will provide you with litter picking equipment for free. Once you've collected the litter in the red bag you tie a knot and leave it next to a public bin. 

2. Keep your rubbish on you until you can dispose of it properly. If you're in a car keep the rubbish there until you go to a petrol station and throw the rubbish in the bins there. Or when you get home throw it into the bin there. The road is not a bin. 

3. Collective street action, if each person took responsibility of cleanliness outside their home. There would be no rubbish. I understand it's not your rubbish however, it's making your street look ugly.

4. Hold your local councillors to account. If they only clean their street don't applaud them call them out. If they overlook people who are fly tipping and littering call them out. They have a responsibility, that's why you voted them in. 

We can’t continue to make excuses for people’s bad decisions as a town and borough we have a collective responsibility to tackle litter.

Hamzah is a resident of Blackburn and lives in the Bastwell area